Gimme a (coffee) break

All kinds of coffee makers
All kinds of coffee makers

How did we end up with so many ways to make coffee? This photo doesn’t even tell the whole story. Here you can see from left to right, an hourglass-shaped coffee maker, a red capsule espresso maker, a grind-and-brew espresso/cappuccino maker, and a good ‘ole drip coffee maker. We actually have a second identical one of the drip version because we were operating out of two houses for a while. If you looked in our suitcase you’d see a collapsible brewer that fits directly over your cup, a couple of half-liter thermoses for the train, and even a few sleeves of our favorite brand as instant crystals in case we get desperate. Have we lost our way?

After reading that, you might think that we were coffee fanatics, guzzling the stuff night and day. Not at all; we just like the taste of good coffee, one cup at a time. Now living in a country where a café culture has thrived for centuries, we just seem to be adapting to the local ways in our own home. Couldn’t we get an excellent espresso at one of the numerous sidewalk cafés in town? Yes, we can and we do but sometimes you want to recreate that experience before lunch or perhaps after you’ve served dinner to friends.

A regular and a double cappuccino
A regular and a double cappuccino

When we do go out for a coffee, how much does it cost? About 1 euro 50 cents ($1.56) per cup which is the same as the cost of a glass of wine, so there’s always a choice or a decision to make. Just before moving here, I remember seeing a news story about a café elsewhere in France that posted a sign with different prices based on how you asked for the coffee: A. Coffee; B. Coffee, please; C. Hello, coffee, please; with the price decreasing as the civility increased. I guess that helps to put the culture into the café.

So, what’s to become of our collection of makers? For breakfast we have to keep the drip machine since our baguette must be accompanied by a mug of what the French might call café americain. For an at-home espresso or cappuccino, the automatic grinder and brewer can’t be beat. The red machine that uses capsules is destined for the charity shop and that glass brewer, the original of which is found in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has to stay. Coffee, anyone?

5 thoughts on “Gimme a (coffee) break

  1. Made me smile – After 2 weeks in France, we’re still looking for a long-term apartment, but have already bought an espresso machine! The shops are absolutely full of those pod machines; it’s nearly impossible to find a simple ground-coffee type.

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    1. Not a problem in groceries, cafes or restaurants but be aware that you have a choice of real milk (up to 8% fat) or cream and will get the strangest looks if you ask for artificial creamer.


  2. Thank you for my giggle! We have a situation at our home too! We have so many ways to make coffee…but no electric drip pot! Our daily go-to is our large insulated French Press, followed by a small french press, followed by the Italian Espresso pot, followed by a small drip top that fits over a mug. And of course the instant espresso in the cupboard used for baking and a cuppa in a pinch. And we’re like you…we like coffee and all, but a pot in the morning is about all we consume….unless we’re in France….nothing like a quick cup while running errands in the village.

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